When BBC Radio 4’s Material World announced a search for the UK’s top amateur scientist, the winning experiment involved one of our humblest garden pests. Ruth Brooks asked the question: Do snails have a homing instinct? The Telegraph’s Louise Gray chairs.
In AD 476, Romulus Augustulus, Emperor in line to Augustus, Trajan and Constantine, was deposed by a German chieftain. It is an event that in most history books is identified as marking the end of the Roman Empire. But did it? The historian explores whether the Romans themselves had any comprehension that their empire could possibly fall. He traces the surprisingly obdurate survival of a Roman imperial identity across the centuries, and attempts to identify a moment in history when the Roman Empire could be said definitively to have come to an end.
Two novels explore the disturbance of the past. Healey’s Elizabeth is Missing is both a detective story and a haunting depiction of dementia. The characters in Murray’s Sugar Hall probe the secret history of a Forest of Dean mansion. Chaired by Sameer Rahim.
Where the majority of a population is illiterate, art is the most effective way to communicate the message. The curator of the new BritishMuseum show examines propaganda ‘art’ as political communication, social cohesion and absolute control.
One of pop music’s most enduring figures talks about his life, through the heady early days of Punk and 2-Tone, to the Eighties, where Madness became the biggest selling singles band of the decade. Along the way he tells us what it’s like to grow up in sixties Soho, go globetrotting with your best mates, make a dead pigeon fly and cause an earthquake in Finsbury Park. He talks to Martin Chilton.
The 2015 Nobel Literature Laureate talks about Russia and the USSR. Her Nobel citation was for “her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time”.
“I don’t ask people about socialism, I ask about love, jealousy, childhood, old age. Music, dances, hairstyles. The myriad sundry details of a vanished way of life. This is the only way to chase the catastrophe into the framework of the mundane and attempt to tell a story. Try to figure things out. It never ceases to amaze me how interesting ordinary, everyday life is. There are an endless number of human truths... History’s sole concern is the facts; emotions are out of its realm of interest. It’s considered improper to admit feelings into history. I look at the world as a writer, not strictly an historian. I am fascinated by people…”
This event will be conducted in Russian, with consecutive translation